President Donald Trump is expected to visit Walter Reed National Military Medical Center over the weekend and said he likely will wear a mask while there.
"I’m going to Walter Reed to see some of our great soldiers who have been injured,” Trump said Thursday in a roughly 40-minute phone interview on Fox News Channel’s “Hannity.” “Badly injured. And also see some of our COVID workers, people who have done such a great job.
"And I expect to be wearing a mask when I go into Walter Reed. You’re in a hospital so I think it’s a very appropriate thing."
The comment contrasts with Trump’s public appearances, where he is rarely seen with his nose and mouth covered by a mask. Health officials have recommended “social distancing” of 6 feet, and face masks when that is not possible or impractical, to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.
The White House last month changed its requirement to wear masks in the West Wing to a recommendation. The change ended a more than month-long mandate after Vice President Mike Pence’s press secretary Katie Miller tested positive for the virus that causes the flu-like COVID-19.
More than 20 states now require masks in public places, according to NPR.
"I think it’s fine to wear a mask out if it makes you feel comfortable," Trump said, referring to "certain conditions" where it would be appropriate, such as visiting a hospital.
"I have no problem with a mask. I don’t think you need one when you’re tested all the time. Everybody around you is tested. You’re quite a distance.”
Trump donned a mask during a trip to a Ford Motor Co. assembly plant in Michigan in May, out of reporters’ view.
"I had one on before. I wore one in this back area,” he said at the time. “I didn't want to give the press the pleasure of seeing it."
He said it was not necessary in front of the reporters since everybody had been tested and shown to be free of the virus.
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